Diel behavior in moths and butterflies: a synthesis of data illuminates the evolution of temporal activity

Diel behavior in moths and butterflies: a synthesis of data illuminates the evolution of temporal... Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) are one of the most taxonomically diverse insect orders with nearly 160,000 described species. They have been studied extensively for centuries and are found on nearly all continents and in many environments. It is often assumed that adult butterflies are strictly diurnal and adult moths are strictly nocturnal, but there are many exceptions. Despite the broad interest in butterflies and moths, a comprehensive review of diel (day-night) activity has not been conducted. Here, we synthesize existing data on diel activity in Lepidoptera, trace its evolutionary history on a phylogeny, and show where gaps lie in our knowledge. Diurnality was likely the ancestral condition in Lepidoptera, the ancestral heteroneuran was likely nocturnal, and more than 40 transitions to diurnality subsequently occurred. Using species diversity estimates across the order, we predict that roughly 75-85% of Lepidoptera are nocturnal. We also define the three frequently used terms for activity in animals (diurnal, nocturnal, crepuscular), and show that literature on the activity of micro-moths is significantly lacking. Ecological factors leading to nocturnality/diurnality is a compelling area of research and should be the focus of future studies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Organisms Diversity & Evolution Springer Journals

Diel behavior in moths and butterflies: a synthesis of data illuminates the evolution of temporal activity

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik
Subject
Life Sciences; Biodiversity; Evolutionary Biology; Developmental Biology; Animal Systematics/Taxonomy/Biogeography; Plant Systematics/Taxonomy/Biogeography
ISSN
1439-6092
eISSN
1618-1077
D.O.I.
10.1007/s13127-017-0350-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) are one of the most taxonomically diverse insect orders with nearly 160,000 described species. They have been studied extensively for centuries and are found on nearly all continents and in many environments. It is often assumed that adult butterflies are strictly diurnal and adult moths are strictly nocturnal, but there are many exceptions. Despite the broad interest in butterflies and moths, a comprehensive review of diel (day-night) activity has not been conducted. Here, we synthesize existing data on diel activity in Lepidoptera, trace its evolutionary history on a phylogeny, and show where gaps lie in our knowledge. Diurnality was likely the ancestral condition in Lepidoptera, the ancestral heteroneuran was likely nocturnal, and more than 40 transitions to diurnality subsequently occurred. Using species diversity estimates across the order, we predict that roughly 75-85% of Lepidoptera are nocturnal. We also define the three frequently used terms for activity in animals (diurnal, nocturnal, crepuscular), and show that literature on the activity of micro-moths is significantly lacking. Ecological factors leading to nocturnality/diurnality is a compelling area of research and should be the focus of future studies.

Journal

Organisms Diversity & EvolutionSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 6, 2017

References

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